Congrats to Union Rags, 2012 Belmont Stakes winner!

Congrats to #3 Union Rags, John Velazquez up, in winning the 144th running of the Belmont Stakes! Trained by Michael Matz & owned by Phyllis Wyeth. #9 Paynter, Bodemeister’s stablemate, was second. ©Joan Fairman Kanes/Eclipsesportswire

Union Rags redeemed himself on Saturday in the 144th Belmont Stakes!

It’s been a great Triple Crown, see ya next year!!

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Belmont Stakes 2012 Post Positions & Morning Line

The post positions were drawn today for I’ll Have Another’s run for history in the 2012 Belmont Stakes. I’ll Have Another will break from post #11 in his quest for the Triple Crown, and is favored for the first time this year at 4-5.

Dullahan, the late-closing Blue Grass Stakes winner, is the 5-1 second choice and breaks from post #5. Union Rags, the early Kentucky Derby favorite, drew post #3 and has a morning line of 6-1.

Bob Baffert elected not to run Derby & Preakness runner-up Bodemeister in the Belmont, but he and Zayat stables will be represented by Paynter, a lightly-raced son of Awesome Again who ran 4th in the Santa Anita Derby.  Paynter will start from gate #9 and is set at 8-1.

Kentucky Oaks winning jockey Rosie Napravnik is one of the leading riders at Belmont this season, and she will ride longshot Five Sixteen from the #7 spot at 50-1.

The complete field for the 2012 Belmont Stakes:

Post Horse ML
1 Street Life 12-1
2 Unstoppable U 30-1
3 Union Rags 6-1
4 Atigun 30-1
5 Dullahan 5-1
6 Ravelo’s Boy 50-1
7 Five Sixteen 50-1
8 Guyana Star Dweej 50-1
9 Paynter 8-1
10 Optimizer 20-1
11 I’ll Have Another 4-5
12 My Adonis 20-1
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I’ll Have Another Preps For Belmont 2012

I’ll Have Another didn’t waste any time preparing for the 2012 Belmont after his dramatic Preakness victory. The chestnut son of Flower Alley shipped to Belmont Park on May 20, the day after the Preakness. He is trying to become the 12th Triple Crown winner, and the first in 34 years.

Arriving with a security escort and greeted by the media, I’ll Have Another took up residence in trainer Mark Hennig’s barn at Belmont.

Trainer Doug O’Neill arrived shortly after to oversee the colt’s training.

I’ll Have Another has had several gallops over the track, beginning with his first on May 25.

His gallop on May 31 was interrupted when a loose horse narrowly missed him, passing between I’ll Have Another and the outside rail. It was a hairy situation that caused NYRA to set aside a special training time from now on just for the Belmont contenders.

I’ll Have Another’s jockey, Mario Gutierrez, has never ridden a race at Belmont Park. This has been a negative for many young jockeys on the Triple Crown trail. Because Belmont is such a large track, the inexperienced rider is prone to send a horse too early, leaving him with too much to do in deep stretch. Gutierrez is set to ride the week prior to the Belmont Stakes to get a feel for the track’s size and shape.

Trainer Doug O’Neill was hit with a setback this week – the California Horse Racing Board found him ultimately responsible for elevated TCO2 in a horse he raced back in 2010, though no evidence of wrongdoing was discovered. O’Neill was given a 45-day suspension, set to commence in July.

I’ll Have Another won’t be allowed to wear his trademark nasal strip in the Belmont Stakes. NYRA does not allow them in races at their tracks and have no plans to grant an exception. This seems to be a non-issue, however, and the colt’s connections are not fighting the decision.

The post position draw for the 2012 Belmont Stakes is Wednesday, June 6.

The Belmont will be run Saturday, June 9 at 6:30 p.m. ET.

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Congratulations I’ll Have Another!

Kentucky Derby winner I’ll Have Another continued his journey to the Triple Crown with an exciting finish in the Preakness!

I’ll Have Another runs down Bodemeister in a thrilling Preakness stretch duel! Photo by Eclipse Sportswire

The chestnut colt, ridden by jockey Mario Gutierrez, ran down pacesetter Bodemeister in a thrilling stretch duel that fans will be talking about for years.

Here’s to I’ll Have Another – may he win another on June 9!

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2012 Kentucky Derby Field

The field for the 138th Kentucky Derby has been set! What an exciting crop of year three olds we have this year.  From this group of twenty horses, nine of them ran in the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.  Of those nine horses, eight of them have gone on to win a graded stakes race in 2012. Let’s take a look at this field’s contenders.

Daddy Long Legs: This euro sensation stamped his hoof in the Derby by winning the Gr. II UAE Derby over in Dubai.  Winning three out of five career races, the Aiden O’Brien trainee will be making his second trip across the pond.  Finished a distant twelfth in the BC Juvenile but will be back with Colm O’Donoghue in the irons.

Optimizer: D.Wayne Lukas has yet another runner in the Kentucky Derby.  Lukas has won 13 triple crown races in his career and is looking for his 14th.  Optimizer has one win, two seconds, and one third from nine career starts.  Jon Court will take the reins on the English Channel colt.

Take Charge Indy: Taking off in the three spot is the front running Take Charge Indy.  Most recently seen wiring the field in the Gr. I Florida Derby, this colt is out to prove his last race was no stroke of luck.  Calvin Borel will be aboard the A.P. Indy colt come this Saturday.  Borel won three out of four Kentucky Derby’s from 2007 – 2010.

Union Rags:Likely one of the favorites in this race will be Union Rags.

Union Rags wins the Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

This colt has never finished off the board in all six of his career starts and has been training very well since coming back to Churchill Downs.  Union Rags’ trainer Michael Matz won the Derby back in 2006 and will be looking to get another under his belt as well.  Riding Union Rags this Saturday will be Julien Leparoux whohas been hot as of late especially at Churchill Downs.

Dullahan: This chestnut colt has made a name for himself as of late by taking the Gr. I Blue Grass Stakes in come from behind fashion.  Dullahan has hit the board six out of the eight times he has ran.  Kent Desormeaux will be back on the Dale Romans colt for the fourth time in which he has finished first or second three times.

Bodemeister: The Bob Baffert horse recently posted his highest career speed figure by winning the Gr. I Arkansas Derby by a punishing nine lengths.  This colt has either placed first or second in each of his four career races and will have Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith in the saddle.  Bodemeister is a speed horse so will see if he will have the distance come Saturday.

Rousing Sermon: This horse is one of the four morning line 50-1 shots.  The Jerry Hollendorfer colt will be doing his best running late and has only finished off the board once in his career.  He was last seen finishing third in the Gr. II Louisiana Derby at the Fair Ground race track.  Jose Lezcano will get the jump on Rousing Sermon this Saturday for the first time in his career.

Creative Cause scores in the San Felipe.

Creative Cause: When you think of Creative Cause, only one word should come to mind; consistent.  This grey colt has never finished off the board in eight career starts, four of which he won.  The Giants Causeway horse ran third in the BC Juvenile back in November and will be looking to capitalize this time around.  Leading rider at Santa Antia this past meet, Joel Rosario will keep his mount on Creative Cause.

Trinniberg: This speedster has won two consecutive races coming into the Derby and is looking to keep his streak going.  This horse has never ran over seven furlongs before but hey, who can pass on the Derby right? Willie Martinez has been aboard Trinniberg for his last two wins and will be back in the saddle come Saturday.

Daddy Nose Best: Coming out of the ten spot is the horse referred to as ‘Daddy’.  The Steve Asmussen colt will be looking for his three-peat as well with two prior wins coming in the Gr. III El Camino and the Gr. III Sunland Derby.  Asmussen was the recent trainer of the 2007 and 2009 Preakness winners in Culrin and Rachel Alexandra.   Talk about some big saddles to fill and what jock to do a better job than Garrett Gomez.

Alpha:Our next horse is the Godolphin runner Alpha.

Alpha wins the Withers

The son of Bernardini has either won or placed second in each of his 6 career starts.  Most recently this colt was seen coming up just short in the Gr. I Wood Memorial to Gemologist.  This bay will have a new a new rider in Rajiv Maragh in the Derby but Alpha has already won with two different jocks so it should not be a problem.

Prospective: The Gr. II Tampa Bay Derby hero will be released from the 12 hole.  The son of Malibu Moon has won four of eight career starts all of which with rider Luis Contreras.  This colt also ran in the BC Juvenile back in November and will be looking to better his 11th place showing.  Prospective has wins on three different tracks and is looking upon Churchill Downs to be his fourth.

2012 Kentucky Derby contender Went The Day Well wins the Spiral Stakes – Photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Went The Day Well:  Graham Motion won the Kentucky Derby last year with Animal Kingdom and will be looking for the repeat come Saturday.  Went The Day is coming off of two straight victories his last of which was the Gr. III Spiral Stakes at Turf Paradise.  John Velasquez will be back on the Proud Citizen colt and will be trying to make his move in the later stages of the race.

Hansen:This grey needs no introduction.

Hansen Wins Gotham Stakes

Hansen won the BC Juvenile at Churchill back in November as he wired the field holding off a late rallying Union Rags.  The son of Tapit has never finished worse than second and has shown he has quite the fighting spirit.  This outside post could benefit the speedster who will have Ramon Dominguez back in the irons.  Hansen has rolled off four straight races with speed figures of 90 or above.

Gemologist:  One of the Pletcher horses in this race, Gemologist will be looking to add another Kentucky Derby victory to Winstar Farms resume.  This colt is undefeated in five career starts and has seemed to improve every single time.  His most recent win came in the Gr. I Wood Memorial up in New York.  Jockey Javier Castellano will be aboard Gemologist and will be looking to keep this colts record unblemished.

Mark Valeski (on rail) in the Risen Star.

El Padrino: The son of Pupit is also trained by Todd Pletcher and will be released from the 16th spot.  El Padrino has three wins out of six career starts and has only finished out of the money once.  The chestnut will be looking to sit right off the pace and should kick in his best on the turn for home.  This colt also seems to like the slop so be on the lookout for the rain.  Rafael Bejarano will get the mount this Saturday.

Done Talking: This colt did not stamp is spot in the Derby until he turned on his burners in the Gr. III Illinois Derby.  The Broken Vow colt has won three times in his career, two of which jockey Sheldon Russell was present in the saddle.  Come this Saturday, Russell will be trying to repeat the showing of the Illinois Derby for trainer Hamilton Smith.

Sabercat: Delta Jackpot winner Sabercat is the other Steve Asmussen colt in the pack.  The son of Bluegrass Cat earned the highest speed figure of his career last time out finishing third in the Gr. I Arkansas Derby.  Sabercat has won with three different jocks thus far in his career and will be trying to make it four with Corey Nakatani in the driver’s seat.

I’ll Have Another:  This quiet assassin has made his presence felt over on the west coast with two straight victories in the Gr. II Robert B. Lewis Stakes and the Gr. I Santa Anita Derby.  The Flower Alley horse will be competing for the lead with horses like Hansen, Take Charge Indy, and Bodemeister.  Out of five career starts I’ll Have Another has finishe first or second in four of them.  Mario Gutierrez will be back in the saddle for the Doug O’Neill trainee.

Liaison: Breaking from the 20th post is the Bob Baffert colt Liaison.  This colt started off his career by hitting the board in four straight starts, winning three of those four.  Since then the Indian Charlie horse has failed to come in the money in his last three starts.  His more recent effort was a sixth place finish in the Gr. I Santa Anita Derby.  Only one horse has ever won from the 20th spot in the Derby and that was Big Brown in 2005, let’s see if Liaison can be the second.

Well there you have it; the field for the 2012 Kentucky Derby is set.  Only thing left to do is pick your favorites and place your bets, the rest will happen when the gates open!

2012 Kentucky Derby Field

PP

Horse

M / L Odds

Jockey

Trainer

1

Daddy Long Legs

30 – 1

Colm O’ Donoghue

Aidan O’Brien

2

Optimizer

50 – 1

Jon Court

D. Wayne Lukas

3

Take Charge Indy

15 – 1

Calvin Borel

Patrick Byrne

4

Union Rags

9 – 2

Julien Leparoux

Michael Matz

5

Dullahan

8 – 1

Kent Desormeaux

Dale Romans

6

Bodemeister

4 – 1

Mike Smith

Bob Baffert

7

Rousing Sermon

50 – 1

Jose Lezcano

Jerry Hollendorfer

8

Creative Cause

12 – 1

Joel Rosario

Mike Harrington

9

Trinniberg

50 – 1

Willie Martinez

Bisnath Parboo

10

Daddy Nose Best

15 – 1

Garrett Gomez

Steve Asmussen

11

Alpha

15 – 1

Rajiv Maragh

Kiaran McLaughlin

12

Prospective

30 – 1

Luis Contreras

Mark Casse

13

Went The Day Well

20 – 1

John Velazquez

Graham Motion

14

Hansen

10 – 1

Ramon Dominguez

Michael Maker

15

Gemologist

6 – 1

Javier Castellano

Todd Pletcher

16

El Padrino

20 – 1

Rafael Bejarano

Todd Pletcher

17

Done Talking

50 – 1

Sheldon Russell

Hamilton Smith

18

Sabercat

30 – 1

Corey Nakatani

Steve Asmussen

19

I’ll Have Another

12 – 1

Mario Gutierrez

Doug O’Neill

20

Liaison

50 – 1

Martin Garcia

Bob Baffert

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Kentucky Derby 2012 – Top 25 Graded Stakes Earners

The 2012 Kentucky Derby is shaping up more every day now.  With a week and a half to go the entries are almost set. Now let’s take a look at our projected Derby Field.

At the top of our list is none other than the 2011 two-year old champ, Hansen.

Hansen Wins Gotham Stakes

The grey colt has earned a whopping $1,550,000 in graded stakes thus far in his career.  His most notable win came in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile when he wired the field holding off a late rallying Union Rags.  So far in 2012 Hansen has run three times including two second place finishes and a first in the Gr. III Gotham Stakes.  Ramon Dominguez will keep the mount on Hansen for the Derby.

The next top graded stakes earner is Daddy Long Legs.  The Scat Daddy horse was most recently seen finishing first in the Group 2 UAE Derby.  Prior to the UAE Derby, the Aidan O’Brien trainee finished a distant twelfth in the BC Juvenile back in November under rider Ryan Moore.  This will be the second trip back to Churchill Downs for the chestnut colt and jockey Colm O”Donoghue will be back in the saddle.

Union Rags is the next on our list regarding graded earnings.

Union Rags wins the Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

Trained by Michael Matz, the bay colt has never finished off the board in his six career starts.  The son of Dixie Union was last seen in the Gr.II Fountain of Youth Stakes where he finished third behind Take Charge Indy and Reveron.   Julien Leparoux will retain the mount on Derby day.

 

 

The horse who has ended up in the four spot on our graded stakes earnings list is Dullahan.  This colt has moved up in the ranks considerably in the past weeks with his strong finish in the Gr. I Toyota Blue Grass Stakes.    The chestnut son of Even the Score has two wins, two seconds and two thirds out of eight career starts.  Jockey Kent Desormeaux will be back in the irons on Dullahan come Derby day.

Rounding out the top five is a horse who has been no stranger to the lime light.

Creative Cause scores in the San Felipe.

Creative Cause has been nothing but consistent since his first race and has yet to finish off the board in all eight of his career starts.  Creative Cause was last seen finishing a close second behind I’ll Have Another in the Gr. I Santa Anita Derby.  Trainer Mike Harrington took the blinkers off the Giants Causeway colt last time out so we will see what he decides to do come Derby day.  Joel Rosario will keep his regular mount on Creative Cause for the Derby.

The final field for the 2012 Kentucky Derby will be set next Wednesday at the post-position draw, but you can be sure that it will be comprised of the horses on the top graded earners list below.

2012 Kentucky Derby: Top 25 Graded Stakes Earners

Number

Horse

Graded Stakes Earnings

1

Hansen

$1,550,000

2

Daddy Long Legs

$1,294,030

3

Union Rags

$1,170,000

4

Dullahan

$855,000

5

Creative Cause

$836,000

6

Gemologist

$703,855

7

Sabercat

$701,429

8

Take Charge Indy

$698,400

9

Bodemeister

$660,000

10

I’ll Have Another

$601,000

11

Daddy Nose Best

$545,558

12

Liaison

$393,000

13

Prospective

$387,952

14

Alpha

$380,000

15

Trinniberg

$324,500

16

Done Talking

$310,000

17

Went The Day Well

$282,000

18

Rousing Sermon

$269,000

19

Mark Velaski

$260,000

20

El Padrino

$250,000

21

Isn’t He Clever

$191,333

22

Optimizer

$184,708

23

Castaway

$162,000

24

Red Duke

$150,823

25

Currency Swap

$150,000

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Kentucky Derby 2012 Last Chance In Lexington

The Coolmore Lexington Stakes is the last chance for 2012 Kentucky Derby contenders to get the graded stakes earnings to qualify. A few notable bubble horses are in this year’s edition, which draws 11 stakes-placed colts.

Castaway, winner of the first division of the Southwest Stakes for trainer Bob Baffert, tries to make the Derby field in this 1 1/8th mile challenge at Keeneland. Castaway is ranked #23 in graded earnings, but will secure a spot should he win.

News Pending, second to Union Rags in the Fountain of Youth, is a tough horse in this spot. A win here will not get him to the Derby, however – this year’s cutoff will be the highest in Derby history, at just under $300,000.

Morgan’s Guerilla, second in the Illinois Derby, takes his game to Keeneland as well. A win here will flatter IL Derby winner Done Talking, who is #15 in graded earnings and will be in the Derby.

Also in the Lexington: Spiral runner-up Holiday Promise, Tampa Bay Derby runner-up Golden Ticket, and listed stakes winner Summer Front.

Post time for the Coolmore Lexington Stakes is 5:13 p.m. ET.

The 138th running of the Kentucky Derby is in 15 days, Saturday, May 5!

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